September 5, 2011
CAIRO (AFP) -- The Egyptian authorities are erecting a wall around the Israeli embassy in Cairo as relations between the two neighbors who signed a peace treaty in 1979 are at a delicate phase.
The wall, about two meters high, consists of prefabricated cement slabs that are being installed around the building that houses the Israeli embassy overlooking a bridge in Cairo.
Part of the wall has been painted with Egypt's national colors: black, white and red.
Outraged Egyptians last month staged huge protests outside the embassy and called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador over the border deaths of Egyptian policemen killed as Israel hunted militants.
Egypt has asked Israel for an official apology and demanded a probe into the deaths of the five policemen.
During one of the anti-Israeli protests, an Egyptian man scaled the building housing the mission, removed Israel's Star of David flag and replaced it with Egypt's colors, as the crowds cheered him on.
Egyptian officials quoted by the local media have meanwhile stressed that the wall being erected around the embassy was aimed at protecting residents of nearby buildings.
Ali Abdel Rahman, the governor of Giza district where the embassy is located, told Al-Gumhuriyya newspaper the wall "has nothing to do with the protection of the Israeli embassy" but is for the protection of private citizens.
Egyptian opposition party Al Wafd said Sunday that a private contractor had begun to build a security wall around the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Israeli news site Ynet reported.
Egypt is the first Arab nation to have signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.